Newport-based Fred Evans off and running at London 2012
10:50pm Sunday 29th July 2012 in Sport
WELSH boxer Fred Evans booked a date with Egidijus Kavaliauskas in the Olympic welterweight division’s last 16 and immediately warned the Lithuanian to forget their last encounter.
In perhaps the loudest atmosphere of the Olympics so far, Evans eased past Algeria’s Ilyas Abbad 18-10 to set up a rematch against Kavaliauskas, who beat him 4-2 in last year’s World Championships.
However, by that stage the reigning European champion had already secured qualification to the London Games and the 21-year-old argues his heart and head were not in it – something that won’t be the case on Thursday.
"He is definitely going to see the real Fred Evans this time," he said. "It was after my qualification fight, when I switched off completely. I know it was the World Championships but I had nothing to gain.
"I was so happy with knowing that I had qualified for the Olympics that I had switched off completely.
"I know there were medals there but I was just going for qualification. You are going to see a different Fred Evans.
"He is good and won a couple of fights in the World Championships but really his style suits me. He is a short strong fighter and I am really confident."
Algerian Abbad certainly gave him a good warm-up, and more importantly he got to sample the benefits of a partisan home support first hand, having seen teammate Anthony Ogogo box the night before.
St Joseph’s-trained Evans admits the atmosphere did get to his head with the two boxers trading blows in the centre of the ring, although the Newport boxer’s combinations were always that bit more accurate, winning the rounds 7-5, 5-2, 6-3. "I was asking Anthony what the atmosphere was like and he said it was unbelievable, but you don’t really realise what it is like until you get in there.
"It was really overwhelming, particularly with my family here, and maybe I did get a bit carried away.
"I know you shouldn’t start swinging but I started swinging. The crowd maybe got me going a bit too much.
"Hopefully I will get the same level of support next time, although I should be a bit more prepared for it.
"We have a great team [Team GB boxing squad] and I don’t see any reason why we can’t win a bunch of medals. It is an unbelievable squad. We have got off to a good start and hopefully we can just carry that on."
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